We chose Scenic as we were looking for a cruise that was 100% all inclusive. It turned out to be the right decision as we never once had to pull out our wallet. The only additional cost was a massage! Scenic lived up to everything we expected. Rooms were excellent and the addition of a small balcony was great on mornings when we wanted room service rather than eating at the restaurant. Food was very good with incredible selection. Tours had enough variety that it appeared there was something for everyone.
For people considering a river cruise for the first time here are some pointers that I was not aware of and had I known it would have made the experience even better:
1. Don't take the top deck for a room if you are travelling in the summer. Air Conditioning works better on the lower level. Rooms closer to the back of the boat are louder due to the engine. If you like white noise then they are great. Rooms closer to the front you hear everyone passing your room.
2. Do your research on destinations along the river you are cruising on along with tours. Some of our tours were two hours bus ride before you got to your destination. My assumption was destinations would be a virtual walk off the boat. (I understand the Rhone is more like this). When it was it was a walk off the boat such as Durnstein it was fantastic!
3. Compare docking stops. On the Danube we sailed by Passau. It looked fantastic but Scenic does not stop there...… Viking does.
4. Understand how often you can be up on the sun deck on the river cruise. Depending on low bridges or locks you are limited to just the lounge area below. This is when you really want a balcony ….. or pick a different river. The channel between the Danube and Nuremburg there are many locks. Although interesting we loved being up top so that is a disappointment.
5. On Scenic you would do a tour and the boat would continue down the Danube and you would pick it up later in the day. One day we passed on the tours and enjoyed just cruising. Again look at the schedule..... this may have been my favourite day! Ultimately identify how much you want to be busy or relax and choose the right cruise based on this.
6. Beware that the success of a cruise can be very dependent not only on the staff but also who you have the luck of cruising with. With a minimum of less than 200 people if the group is fun..... you will have fun. We met many ships along our cruise and it became obvious we were very lucky with the group we had.
7. Cruise success is also dependent on whether the water is at the right height. Check months and get some statistics from your travel agents to try and ensure that you will be on the water for 100% of your trip...… or book last minute like we did.
Included in the diamond deck was room service, laundry service and pressing of clothes. Great rooms
Was supposed to be 3 hours and ended up being 5. Walking Buda hills - Excellent person giving the tour.
We toured the city - interesting. (Walking tour)
We toured the city. Not alot of time as we were headed for the airport.